The changes in retail for the next five years will be greater than those of the past fifty years combined. Still, most retailers are taking too cautious steps to adjust their supply chain.
Vision of continuous shopping.
Digitization has fundamentally changed customer behavior. Not only where the customer buys, but also when. From discreet interactions to continuous shopping in a wide variety of sales channels. An immense challenge for every organization to realize the right service and customer experience via every channel.
Nevertheless, research by PwC and Forbes shows that many retailers still cherish a classic thinking pattern. The main priorities appear to be traditional expansion [48%], new stores [40%] and acquisitions [32%]. However, changes in customer behavior require a supply chain that is agile and responsive. Equipped to meet the omni-channel challenge.
Traditional supply chain.
The importance of the supply chain still appears to be undervalued. Only a limited number of CEOs see the full strategic importance of a dynamic and efficient supply chain. This is evident from the low attention when it comes to investments in the supply chain. An often heard argument is that supply chain is primarily a tactical element in business operations. You only have to look at Apple once and you understand the strategic importance of a supply chain.
Being unprepared for the omni-channel challenge also entails risks when it comes to brand reputation. Online customers communicate more with each other than with the organization itself. This concerns price, product, properties and service. The organization that is not prepared for this can be seriously damaged. Bad messages easily travel all over the world and significantly damage your Brand.
Many customers often turn out to be better informed about your products than many employees. The time when the customer had to be informed is definitely over. Customers inform each other. For organizations, therefore, it is necessary to continue to invest in the knowledge and quality of their employees, to be taken seriously by customers. For that reason, companies such as Apple and Microsoft have their ‘own’ bloggers. These often take priority when it comes to product news, which they can then share within their network.
The retailers that have a highly developed supply chain and actively manage their omni-channel pro have the customer experience central in all cases. Whether buying in the classic store, online GPS information on product availability per store or dynamic deliveries aimed at getting the product to the customer. Such an approach requires a multidisciplinary supply chain in which information about product availability is essential. Bringing together the classic and digital store supply chain.
The 21st century customers are particularly knowledgeable about your products, service and services and have a low tolerance if your organization is unable to deliver or otherwise fails to meet expectations. A social media outburst of negative responses is often the result.
Successful transactions are therefore no longer about thinking in channels but about all points where your organization, in the broadest sense of the word, comes into contact with the customer. There is still a distinction between generations. The X-Y generation is already used to orientating within its network where the baby boomer is still looking for online support from the organization. Generational differences therefore add an extra depth to your supply chain.
Ready for change.
The rapid technological changes leave a profound impact on the world of customers and organizations. Lack of a forward vision will lead to an eternal ‘catch-up if you can’ situation.
For organizations it is necessary to come up with new business and operational models, in which the supply chain plays a strategically central role. A supply chain that is responsive and agile to meet the omni-channel challenge. That also means that growth strategies and investment decisions have to be adjusted accordingly. Have you installed the right people, processes, technology and systems to keep your margins at the right level and to be able to meet the customer experience to the maximum.
Forbes Insights: Retail ‘s new imperative. Supply chain optimization as a growth strategy